Gaming laws are among the most complicated and difficult regulations to understand. Unlike other sections of the legal code, gaming laws combine a collection of several areas of law – including criminal law, regulatory law, constitutional law, administrative law, company law, and, in some cases, competitive law. While illegal gambling is a federal crime in the United States, the presence of state-level laws and rules regulating the prohibition of gaming effectively muddy the waters for the uninitiated. To get a better idea of how complicated gaming laws can be, let’s take a look at a couple of the most famously regulated jurisdictions in the United States.

The New Jersey Gaming Scene

For New Jersey, gaming has traditionally been restricted to a single destination: Atlantic City. Since 1976, America’s Favorite Playground has held a literal monopoly on the Garden State’s gaming industry. This lack of competition isn’t by chance, it is written into the gaming code. However, the steady decline of Atlantic City has led legislators to consider eliminating this clause, opening new destinations within the state to legal gaming moving forward. For almost 40 years, New Jersey gaming law has included competitive law to legally increase the tourism market in its famous boardwalk destination, demonstrating the immense power of gaming regulations in promoting growth in a region.

The Florida Gaming Tribe

In Florida, an exclusivity agreement with the Seminole tribe has translated into big returns for everyone involved for years. Under the terms of this deal, the tribe’s casinos were given the exclusive right to offer popular games – including blackjack and baccarat – in exchange for revenue sharing with the state government. While less pronounced than the competitive advantage in New Jersey, there’s little doubt that this gaming code has put non-Seminole casinos at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Similarly, in 2010, the state of Florida and the tribe signed a 20-year compact giving Seminole casinos the exclusive right to slot machine operation. These moves have hampered the growth of the state’s gaming industry in other areas and, in some cases, pushed gamblers into other states for less restrictive gaming options.

With these two unique cases in mind, it’s clear to see the true power that gaming laws can have on the landscape of the industry. With the federal government’s continued harsh stance toward the industry, state legislators are forced to specifically craft the gaming scene in an effort to maximize revenue. For some jurisdictions, including New Jersey, this power has led to less than favorable results in recent years. However, other areas, such as Las Vegas, have thrived in the unique conditions outlined by regional gaming restrictions.

Gaming laws can make or break an area’s gambling industry, and the continued presence of increasingly high levels of competition around the country are forcing these unique regulations into the spotlight. Look for the industry to continue to evolve, effectively shaping the future of the gaming scene by making the most of advantages provided by regulations. As the laws continue to take shape, the gaming scene could be in for major changes moving forward.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.